Friday, 16 May 2014

The crucial element in successful dating. One can only wonder why resilience is not taught at school. Every elephant knows the importance of growing a thick skin for protection against weather inclemencies

When you are out there looking for the right person to share your life with, you should remind yourself that maintaining your balance and self-esteem is going to put you way ahead of the game.
"A wise man should not fear losing anything in life as long as he is able to preserve his peace of mind," taught the Roman philosopher Epictetus. 

When it comes to dating, each of us can easily make a list of unpleasant situations that we would rather avoid in order to keep our tranquillity. For instance, most men and women would consider themselves happier if they could avoid dealing with nasty people altogether. The same preference applies to averting unwanted criticism. Last but not least, wouldn't our days be easier if we never had to comply with silly rules?

The crucial element in successful dating

The crucial element in successful dating is rational persistence. The question is how we can sustain our motivation long enough to achieve our romantic goals. Indeed, looking for a soul mate would be less complicated if we could keep away all those inconveniences, but let's face the truth, the world is not going to turn into paradise tomorrow morning. 

Negative personal interactions are particularly aggravating during dating, since love seekers who invest themselves heavily in their search often place their egos in the line of fire.

The good news is that you can minimize your dating annoyances if you grow a thick skin, that is, if you become more philosophical about life. Learn to enhance your psychological resilience and this knowledge will serve you well for the rest of your life. The techniques are not difficult and you can practice them on your own. During your dating adventures, you will have ample opportunity to test the validity of these theories.

How to develop a sound psychological armour

One can only wonder why mental resilience is rarely taught at school. Every elephant in the savannah knows the importance of growing a thick skin for protection against weather inclemencies, viruses, and infections. In the same way, human beings need to develop a sound psychological armour against the inevitable frictions of social life.

As Epictetus observed, "some men find joy in fishing and others in hunting, but there is no greater pleasure than living your days with serenity." 

Which techniques can you use to build up a psychological protection layer as thick as the rugged skin of an elephant? In the case of dating, my choice of methods would go towards cultivating deliberate slowness and purposeful indifference. Let us see how these two techniques work in practice.

When you meet new people with romantic purposes in mind, some of your new acquaintances will be great, others will leave you cold, and a few will personify everything that you can possibly dislike in a human being. If you are attending a social event or have been invited for dinner by friends, you might not wish to leave right way, but on the other side, you really don't want to drag along all evening in conversation with obnoxious strangers.

In those cases, adopting a strategy of deliberate slowness can work wonders. By the way, this is an approach that you can take to defuse many exacerbating social situations. Deliberate slowness is the ideal defence mechanism on those occasions when someone is verbally distressing you or bothering you at a party.

The perfect way to play the game

Should you find yourself in that situation, the perfect way to play is not to get angry. Instead of arguing and reacting with indignation, you can pretend that your brain needs hours to absorb the simplest information and stall. Very often, people will succumb to their own impatience, rate you as a hopeless bore, and leave you in peace.

The second technique, purposeful indifference, requires longer training, but its field of application is much wider. Occasionally, during the dating process, you won't be able to escape nasty, unfair criticism, threats, or warnings, either from friends, family, or strangers. Don't let them ruin your day. Remember that it is great that people are free to express their opinions even if they don't know what they are talking about.

Make yourself an invaluable present

Put on your best poker face, say that you take note of their comments, and walk on. As soon as you are away from the scene, shrug your shoulders and don't let anxiety take control of your mind. Reserve your energies for the next date, where you might meet just the right person for you.

Looking for a soul mate is difficult enough. Let us not allow ourselves to be affected by nonsensical remarks from other people. Take advantage of your dating experiences to develop a thick skin. In addition to facilitating your search for love, you will be making yourself an invaluable present.

For more information about rational living and personal development, I refer you to my book The 10 Principles of Rational Living


[Image by PsJeremy under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under]

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